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Laboratory safety programs

Laboratory safety programs

The Laboratory Safety Program was established to ensure academic, research and laboratory activities are conducted in compliance with the provincial and federal laws and regulations within a safe work environment. EHS personnel work in collobaration with researchers, faculty, staff and students to ensure the environmental secure management of chemical, biohazardous and radioactive material. EHS has established policies and procedures detailing safe work and research practices, as well as appropriate safety and environmental controls that must be adhered to.


Enviromental Health & Safety (EHS) conducts laboratory safety inspections throughout the research and teaching laboratories in conjunction with the departmental safety officers. These inspections provide a snapshot of laboratory safety and compliance.

Reports are sent to the Principal Investigator (PI) and provides a list of unsafe or unhealthy conditions identified during the inspection. The PI's and researchers are required to sign the receipt acknowledgement form confirming the inspection findings and return it to EHS.

The PI's and researchers are asked to respond to EHS, in writing, within 30 days of the inspection, to indicate how each item has been corrected or indicating a reason or target date for items that could not be corrected. A follow-up inspection by the EHS team may follow.

EHS remains available to provide the necessary support:

The Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) is an area under strict regulations in Quebec and Canada. The objective of this regulation is to promote safety in the transportation of dangerous goods by road, rail, sea or air. Anyone who ships, transports or delivers, receives, handles or writes up transportation documentation dangerous goods must follow a TDG formation given by EHS in order to obtain a TDG certificate.

EHS provides the following TDG trainings:

  • TDG General
  • TDG Class 7 – Radioactive Materials
  • TDG Class 6.2 – Biological/Infectious Substances

Please check the following link to get more details about EHS training offered at Concordia.

Transport between buildings

Unless the specified substance is exempt or is present in a limited quantity, any transportation of hazardous material by road vehicle between buildings or campuses related to University activities must be done following the requirements of the TDG regulations.

The TDG classification must include the following information in this order:

  • UN number
  • Proper Shipping name
  • Class (& subsidiary class(es))
  • packing groups, compatibility groups or categories

The dangerous good are separated into 9 classes according to the type of hazard they represent:

  • Class 1: Explosives
  • Class 2: Gases
  • Class 3: Flammable Liquids
  • Class 4: Flammable Solids
  • Class 5: Oxidizers
  • Class 6: Poisons
  • Class 7: Radioactive Materials
  • Class 8: Corrosives
  • Class 9: Miscellaneous

Public transportation (STM or shuttle bus) must not be used for the transportation of hazardous materials between campuses. To ship dangerous goods between campuses, please make arrangements with Distribution Services.

Transport within buildings

  • The following precautions shall be followed when transporting chemicals (or any other hazardous substances) within University buildings in order to protect the University community.
  • Chemicals should be transported using a cart or by hand using a secondary container such as a chemical resistant bucket.
  • Always use a sturdy cart with a low center of gravity and spill tray.  Carts with large wheels are best to navigate irregularities in floors and over the elevator door ledge.
  • Use secondary containers to protect the primary container from shock during any sudden change of movement. A secondary containment is important when chemicals are moved through public areas such as hallways or elevators, where the effects of a spill would be more severe.
  • Freight elevators must be used for moving chemicals and biological materials between floors. Passenger elevators must not be used for this purpose.
  • Do not transport incompatible chemicals together on the same cart.
  • All chemical containers require a label identifying the contents in accordance with WHMIS regulation.

For more information and documentation about Transportation of Dangerous Goods, please refer to the following links:

Concordia University has a licence with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) under the Excise Act, 2001 that enables researchers to purchase ethyl alcohol of undenatured grade from Canadian suppliers without having to pay excise duty (approximately 11.69$/litre). This licence dictates mandatory practices concerning storage, usage and disposal.

While these conditions are managed by the Chemical Store at the Loyola campus, research groups located on the SGW campus must show compliance with these mandatory practices. EHS has developed an internal Standard Operating Procedure for the use of non-duty-paid ethyl alcohol of undenatured grade (EHS-SOP-006).

Any Concordia University Principal Investigator (PI), faculty or staff member wishing to purchase ethyl alcohol of undenatured grade for research purposes from an external supplier must contact EHS prior to doing so.
Failure to comply with these requirements could result in the loss of the University’s licence from the CRA, resulting in the requirement to pay the excise tax duty on ethanol of undenatured grade.

Principal Investigators are responsible for their laboratory space from beginning to end. Therefore, they must contact EHS prior to leaving a Concordia University laboratory. EHS will advise and help with the disposal of unwanted chemicals, and the decontamination of equipment so they can be safely transferred or disposed, along with the safe decommissioning of the laboratory. For each equipment, a Certificate of Equipment Decontamination must be filled out and a copy sent to the EHS office.

Leaving experiments unattended should be avoided as much as possible.

If this is unavoidable, the direct Supervisor must be informed and safety measures must be planned according to the following guidelines:

  • The Supervisor must be notified and approve the experiment;
  • Ensure that all containers and equipment are labeled according to WHMIS regulations;
  • Post the “Overnight Unattended Experiment” form (EHS-FORM-079) near the experiment (e.g. on fume hood sash);
  • Provide for secondary containment and shielding of the material/experiment in the event of containment failure;
  • Keep laboratory door window panes unobstructed.

EHS-Form-079-Unattended Experiment

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